The Brandy Crusta. Perhaps one of the most important cocktails of the late 1800 to early 1900′s. This family of cocktails, a fancy version of the venerable cocktail formulation of sugar, spirits, bitters, and water, eventually faded into obscurity in favor of simpler drinks. However, from the Brandy Crusta we were given the Sidecar, and from the Sidecar we were given the Margarita, one of the most popular cocktails worldwide.
The recipe as follows taken from Jerry Thomas’s Bartender’s Guide (1862)
1/2 tsp Lemon Juice
2 oz Cognac
1 tsp Orange Curacao
1 dash Boker’s Bitters
- Cut the lemon in half
- Pare the full peel off half and squeeze juice from lemon
- Moisten glass rim with juice and rim with sugar
- Insert the lemon peel into the glass
- Mix the liquors in a cocktail shaker of ice. Shake and strain into the prepared glass
- Add 1 small lump of ice, and serve.
Since Boker’s Bitters has been unavailable for many years, Angostura or Orange bitters may be used.
This next cocktail is an interesting one, in that there is some confusion around the name and ingredients of this very old drink. First appearing in the New and Improved Bartenders’ Manual (1882), the original recipe calls for the use of pineapple syrup. Some recipes also called for chunks of pineapple to be added. By the 1930′s the drink had dropped the maraschino as evidenced by The Savoy Cocktail Book. Also found in the Savoy, is a drink called the East Indian Cocktail, which contains sherry and vermouth, and later drops the “n” and becomes another version of the East India Cocktail. Shown below is the original recipe as credited to Harry Johnson, with the substitution of raspberry syrup for the pineapple syrup.
East India Cocktail
3 oz Brandy
1/2 oz Raspberry Syrup
1 Dash Angostura Bitters
1 Tsp Orange Curacao
1 Tsp Maraschino Liqueur
Obviously this is a strong drink, and is simply a dressed up spirit, so the quality of the spirit will reflect on the quality of the drink. I chose Hennessy for my brandy as I feel it is a dryer spirit than some others and would pair better with the raspberry and curacao. It makes for an enjoyable cocktail and the raspberry pairs nicely with the brandy. I will try the original recipe with the pineapple, but I think the raspberry will remain preferable to me.